Barcelona happy to see counter-attacking Madrid

AFP, Monday 18 Apr 2011

Barcelona's outlook and reactions after the clásico 1-1 draw

Carles Puyol
Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo from Portugal, top, watches Barcelona's Carles Puyol to leave the field injured (Photo: AP)

Barcelona captain Carles Puyol admitted his side were not surprised to see Real Madrid play on the counter attack in the 1-1 El Clasico draw at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday, but said Barcelona would not change their philosophy of taking the game to opponents home and away.

The 33-year-old centre-back made his first start since mid-January against Madrid after recovering from a knee injury and had little to do early on as Real chose to sit back in front of their home fans and use their speed on the break.

"They knew what they wanted to do and that was to take advantage of counter attacks," said Puyol.

"We know a lot of teams that play on the break. Why can't [Real] Madrid do it?”

"Everybody plays as they see fit and use the weapons they have. We have a philosophy, a way of playing, and we’ll respect that to the end."

Spanish international Puyol hobbled off in the 58th minute making him a doubt for Wednesday's Kings Cup final against Real at the Mestalla stadium.

"It was the perfect place to make my comeback. In the first half I felt really good until I started having some problems," said Puyol. "We made the decision and it was the right one.

"I felt very good, with loads of enthusiasm and excitement. It’s been three hard months that were very tough for me.”

"I’ll definitely be there [at the Cup final], playing or not, I don’t know."

Barcelona midfielder Xavi said his team were happy to have dominated proceedings at the Bernabeu and said the comeback from 10-man Madrid did not give them extra impetus for the Cup final.

"In no way will Madrid’s morale be higher," said Xavi. "We were the better team, faithful to our playing style and we’ll take a lot from the game, despite not getting the three points.”

"Madrid didn't want to play and just looked for counter attacks with long balls over the top. We had control of the game, played with patience, and we defended very well, but the win escaped us in the end.”

"We are very motivated for the Cup, especially after this game. We deserved more, football always provides a new opportunity and that’ll come on Wednesday."

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola was quick to stress that the league was not wrapped up despite his side's eight point lead with just 18 points to play for.

"We are not the champions yet," Guardiola said. "We are only eight points clear and there are still six games left.”

"We have to play against a lot of teams fighting for their lives who won't make it easy for us."

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